The heat is on in the market for green premium supercars. Showing the way as well as the secret to success in this all-new segment is Tesla’s Model S, around 10,000 examples of which were delivered in North America in the first half of 2013. But BMW would not let Tesla hog all the limelight as well as sales.
In fact, BMW AG will unveil the production version of its rechargeable i8 sports car at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 2013. BMW, however, isn't worried on competing with Telsa, saying the i8 and the Model S target different buyers.
BMW's North American chief executive Ludwig Willisch described the i8 as “supercar of the future” as it features driving performance of an M3 while returning over 80 miles per gallon. Willisch remarked that compared with the Model S, the i8 is "a whole different animal” as it competes with different concepts." BMW will roll out the i8 supercar in Europe and the United States next year.
Pricing for the i8, which will be disclosed next month, is expected to be less than $150,000 in the US, according to Willisch. On the other hand, the Model S has starting price of EUR71,400 and around $70,000 in in Germany and the US, respectively.
The BMW i8 uses electric power for the front wheels and a three-cylinder gasoline engine for the rear tires, while the Tesla Model S is powered only by electricity coming from a lithium-ion battery.
The i8’s hybrid system provides a combined 362 hp of output, allowing the car to accelerate from zero to 100kph in 4.5 seconds. According to BMW, the i8 returns an average of 94 miles per gallon (2.5 liters per 100km). Other premium carmakers like Porsche and Cadillac are also preparing their own plug-in offerings.